In a world where telecommunications is a major driver of innovation, is it possible that the applications that make the most difference are the seemingly mundane ones that make us more efficient and help us utilize existing resources? Certainly, a recurring theme of the conferences I have attended over the past couple of weeks is the importance for telcos to deploy a robust fiber plant and find applications and related business opportunities which take advantage of their infrastructure and local presence.
A grassroots marketing organization; something the cable industry has done a great job with through their organization, CTAM, but it is something that has not taken root in the independent telco industry in the same way. Thus, I was excited to learn more about and to be able to participate in the PRIMO (Public Relations Independent Marketing Organization) marketing event. Click here to read why I came away impressed with the camaraderie of this group and what an effective way this forum is for generating and understanding best marketing practices.
The Transition Continues…..
One of the advantages and disadvantages of conferences that are relatively close in proximity is that they are sometimes more difficult to attend in that family matters take priority. Unfortunately, that was the case with the OPASTCO conference and I did not get a chance to sit in on any of the sessions. I spoke to a number of attendees who were very impressed with Steven Shepard’s overview of over the top video and other social media at the OPASTCO event.
Shepard and this topic was an excellent choice as OPASTCO continues its move to become the IP Association. Along these lines, congratulations to Catherine Moyer, the new Chairman. I have heard positive remarks as to how she is an excellent choice to lead OPASTCO and its members on its journey from the PSTN to Broadband.
Another Transition Point – Some Recurring Themes at NTCA’s Annual Conference
Attendees of future NTCA Annual Conferences will probably look back at this one, as a time of transition as well. With the impending retirement of Michael Brunner, it was his chance to say goodbye to the general membership. Coincidentally, James Bass, NTCA’s General Counsel and one who sees the entire arc of the organization from its founding in 1957, presented his written history of the organization. In addition, Monday was declared “James Bass” day at the convention.
A recurring theme of NTCA was that the revenue streams that rural telcos could rely on in the past will probably be gone in the future. As such, it is important for rural telcos to deploy fiber as quickly as possible, as it will not get any better than it is today. The challenge will be to support the operating costs of the network and not just the capital costs. The implication is that telcos are going to have to do more with less or, at least the same, resources.
A topic that proved quite popular at NTCA was the session on the Smart Grid. One telco I spoke to went to this session to get insight into why a rural electric coop had submitted applications for tens of millions of dollars of broadband stimulus money; enough money to overbuild his company and several others with broadband. As he pointed out, this would be a very inefficient use of taxpayer dollars, as he and his independent telco colleagues already have the broadband network that can be used beef up the intelligence of the grid and make it more efficient.
The Smart Grid was the basis of a Parks Associates conference last week in Austin. Unfortunately, ViodiTV was not at that conference, but we did get a preview of some of the challenges and opportunities that suppliers of electricity face. In this interview, filmed at CES 2010, Chris Deutschen of Direct Energy explains the rather counter-intuitive notion of how, by helping their customers save money through efficiency, his company can actually be more profitable (think churn reduction).
Some Tweets from the Past Two Weeks
- You Might Not See This If You Answered No
- Round 2 Funding Explained
- Clearwire to disclose Developer Opportunities with CLEAR WiMAX 4G
Actually, I am no longer waiting for the bus, as the Google maps application for android allows me to quickly find the shortest and most efficient public transport route. In days gone by, I would have have rented a car or taken a taxi when traveling.
The Google mapplication takes the guess work out of when the bus is scheduled to arrive, it's route and it's estimated time of arrival. With this at my fingertips, I can judge when I have to be at the bus stop, so I don't have to waste time waiting for the bus.
Granted, I may have a block or two more of walking, it may take a bit longer and I may have to plan a bit more than alternative modes of transport. But, the cost savings are amazing (10% of the cost of a taxi today). Plus, I get the opportunity to write silly posts like this one use my G1 phone while commuting on the bus. And as a nod to my green friends, this has to be a little more efficient than a car.